Our Top 5 Grilled Seafood Choices This Summer

grilling whole lobster

Whether it’s bringing people together or simply picking up the scent of a BBQ on a summer breeze, grilling represents the best of summer. Now that summer is upon us, there is no better time to learn how to grill whole lobster or perfectly done scallops. If you’re wondering where to start when it comes to grilling seafood, here are our five top choices:

1. Lobster

Lobster reigns supreme in Maine, and learning how to grill live lobster is akin to a rite of passage. Lobsters can be grilled whole or halved over a charcoal or gas grill. Learning how to grill a whole lobster is easy enough.

There are a few other things to consider before grilling. The first is size. Start with a one-and-a-quarter pound to one-and-a-half pound lobster for the most tender, tastiest meat.

Next, lobsters must be stored alive before cooking. When the time to grill has arrived, they can be humanely dispatched by placing them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before cooking. This will completely dull its senses. Then, remove and place the lobster on a cutting board and drive the blade into its skull between the antennae using a large kitchen knife. The lobster is now ready for grilling. Place it on the grill rack over medium-high heat (400F to 450F) if you grill it whole. Close the top and grill for about 5-6 minutes per side. A lobster is done cooking when the meat color is opaque and white.

Generally, when using gas, grill lobsters over direct heat—you can control the heat better using gas. If using charcoal, cook over indirect heat. Because the juice from lobster drips as it heats if grilled directly over the charcoal, it will douse the briquettes or lump charcoal you’re using and slow the cooking process. Simply build up the coals on either side of the grill for indirect grilling. Also, if grilling with charcoal, wait until the coals turn gray. Cook with the belly side down for the first 15 minutes, then flip for another 15 minutes. This slow method of grilling with charcoal retains the flavor and ensures the lobster meat is moist.  

2. Haddock

Now that we’ve explained how to grill whole lobster, we’ll illustrate what it takes to grill the most delicious haddock!

Haddock is one of Maine’s favorite types of seafood. Next to lobster, haddock reigns supreme and is a quintessential Maine seafood dish. Though usually baked or fried, haddock can also be grilled. That said, haddock filets are delicate. You’ll need a grill basket or pan to prevent flaking apart when grilling. Whether using a charcoal or gas grill, when it comes to grilling most seafood, the type of cooking surface of the grill matters. To prevent your meal from literally falling through the cracks as it heats up, rather than using tin foil, invest in a stainless steel grill grate, grill basket, or grill pan designed specifically for seafood (or veggies).

To grill haddock, brush or rub haddock filets with olive oil, then add your favorite seasoning—salt, pepper, dill, or paprika. Oil the grill grates, pan, or basket, then place filets over medium-high heat for approximately 3 minutes per side until lightly browned or when the fish flakes. The total time will depend on the size of each filet.  

3. Salmon Filets

To prepare, brush or rub olive oil over each filet and sprinkle with ground garlic pepper. Place fillets on a grill grate or, for a fragrant smoky flavor, place filets on a cedar grilling plank (which you should be able to find at your local hardware store). Grill salmon at medium to high heat for about 12 to 15 minutes, flipping at 6 to 8 minutes. Salmon will have an opaque pinkish-white color when fully cooked.

4. Scallops

First, rinse the scallops and pat dry. Scallops can either be skewered or tossed into a grill pan. For skewing, thread scallops on skewer sticks, leaving a quarter-inch space between each scallop. Prep melted butter for brushing and season with salt, pepper, and/or paprika to taste. Grill for 5 to 8 minutes over medium charcoal or gas heat, occasionally turning and brushing them with butter. Scallops are ready when they turn golden brown on the outside and opaque on the inside.

5. Blackened Swordfish

Though swordfish are caught worldwide, they migrate into the North Atlantic throughout the summer through the fall. Fresh swordfish filets are dense, firm, and meaty and excellent for grilling. Blackened swordfish are delicious and easy to grill. Just sprinkle swordfish filets with blackened seasoning (or a Cajun seasoning) found at your grocery store, or make your own in a pinch with an equal mixture of black and cayenne peppers, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano. Season each side of filets and grill swordfish like a rare steak. Heat grill to medium-high and cook over direct heat for 5 or 6 minutes on one side, and then turn and grill for another 3 minutes and be ready for a culinary experience.

Grilled seafood is delicious and easy to cook. For the highest quality fresh lobster and other seafood choices found anywhere in Maine, look no further than Klenda Seafood. We deliver live lobster and other seafood directly to your door, or if you live locally, visit our South Portland location.